Delta council, for the first time Monday, began a meeting with an Indigenous land acknowledgement.
On hand for the first acknowledgement via Zoom were TFN Chief Ken Baird, executive council member Valerie Cross, CAO Braden Smith as well as Musqueam First Nation Chief Wayne Sparrow.
The acknowledgement will be held at the start of civic meetings and public events.
Earlier this year, council unanimously endorsed directing staff to review and report back with options, as well as to consult the Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations.
Throughout the province, many public bodies, including various levels of government, and school districts including Delta, also make an Indigenous land acknowledgement at the beginning of meetings and events.
Instituting the practice of making an Indigenous land acknowledgement is one small step on the path to reconciliation, a Delta report notes, adding that additional actions are available for ongoing and future consideration.
“The City of Delta is our closest neighbour and on behalf of TFN, I am very appreciative of the many opportunities that our governments and communities have had to collaborate and produce better outcomes for all involved. From community safety to recreational activities, our people are better off for having found ways to work together. In taking this step to acknowledge our territory, Delta is displaying its ongoing commitment to the Tsawwassen Treaty, the Tsawwassen people and our shared future in this beautiful place that we are fortunate to call home,” said Baird in a news release issued after the council meeting.
Sparrow noted the Musqueam is committed to continuing to work closely with the City of Delta to strengthen its renewed relationship and work toward shared goals.
Mayor George Harvie said the city has worked with the TFN on numerous initiatives over the years and is thankful for their support and collaboration to create a meaningful and respectful acknowledgement.
Harvie said he looks forward to be able to meet both chiefs in person to talk about how they can all move forward together.
The acknowledgment reads: “Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that this meeting is taking place on the shared, traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and other Coast Salish Peoples. We extend our appreciation to these First Nations for the opportunity to hold this meeting here today.”